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Low and My Latest Novel, Temple Bar Music Centre, May 1st 2006

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Low returned to town with new material and a new bassist. The Temple Bar Music Centre is a bigger venue compared to the one Low played on their last visit. They looked lost spread across the stage and the sense of intimacy that made the last show so special was missing. Nonetheless, they put on a good but somewhat difficult show.

My Latest Novel were a treat. Hailing from Glasgow, they have been hyped up as Scotland’s answer to Arcade Fire. Why Arcade Fire need an answer I don’t know. I could see where the Arcade Fire comparisons were coming from, both bands have a similar sound but My Latest Novel are a lot more enjoyable. The opening song, “When we were wolves,” saw the whole band chanting the title over and over again while building up the music from a throbbing rhythm to a pounding crescendo. They peaked with this first song but the rest of the set was far from bad. Songs like “Learning Lego” and “The Reputation of Ross Francis” were rare examples of an original sounding indie band. I’m raging that their next gig here is during my exams.

Low started with a new song (“Sandinista” I believe was its name) and followed it up with a reworking of “Monkey” (which was far better than the remixes available on Low’s new EP), grabbing the crowd’s attention from the get go. The rest of the set was largely new songs which sounded good but I find with Low that I need a few listens before I can fully appreciate their songs. The first listen in a live format made it harder to enjoy the songs, good as they were. They were less fiery than The Great Destroyer and more of a return to the traditional Low sound.

It wasn’t all new songs, however. Peppered between all the new tunes were a few that the crowd not only expected but demanded. “Laser Beam,” “Dragonflies” and “Pissing” were as beautiful as usual and an unexpected rendition of “Sunflower” made my night. However, Zak Sally’s replacement Matt Livingston didn’t seem comfortable playing. He lacked Sally’s presence and fluidity, one of the things essential to Low is the low end. Sally drove the songs along and let the other two do their thing around it. Livingston looked and sounded awkward. Every time he hit a note it reminded me of when I started playing bass. There was no flow and passion; it was like he was reading it off a sheet. In fairness to him he did try and put his own stamp on the bass but sometimes it didn’t work; his bassline on “Canada” was missing a note which took away from the song.

The show ended with two encores. The first including an epic “(That’s How You Sing) Amazing Grace” followed by a wonderful version of “Two-Step.” Returning to the stage once again, Low finished off with “When I Go Deaf” and left the audience feeling happy and kind of sad; a sort of post coital feeling. Hopefully next time they play I will be more familiar with the new songs and their bassist will have settled in.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 May 2006 01:13  


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